Background: The relationship between certification for specific disease care and clinical outcome was not well known. Previous studies regarding the effect of certification for acute stroke centers were limited by their cross-sectional design. This study aimed to investigate the effect of disease-specific care (DSC) certification on healthcare performance and clinical outcome of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Methods: This retrospective, longitudinal, controlled study was performed by analyzing the nationwide Taiwan Clinical Performance Indicators dataset from 2011 to 2018. Hospitals undergoing DSC certification for coronary care and reporting AMI indicators 1 year before, during, and 1 year after certification were included in group C, whereas hospitals not seeking DSC certification but reporting AMI indicators during the same period were included in group U. The primary endpoint was in-hospital mortality of AMI. Results: In total, 20 hospitals (9 in group C and 11 in group U) and up to 16 173 AMI cases were included for analysis. In-hospital mortality was similar between both groups at baseline. However, the in-hospital mortality was significantly improved during and after certification periods in comparison with that at baseline in group C (6.8% vs 8.4%, p = 0.04; 6.7% vs 8.4%, p = 0.02), whereas there was no significant change in group U, resulting in a statistically significant difference between both groups during and after certification periods (odds ratio = 0.74 [95% CI = 0.60-0.91] and 0.78 [95% CI = 0.64-0.96]). Compared with group U, the improvement in healthcare performance indicators, such as door-to-electrocardiography time <10 minutes, blood testing for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, prescribing a beta-blockade or a P2Y12 receptor inhibitor during hospitalization, prescribing a statin on discharge, and consultation for cardiac rehabilitation, was significant in group C. Conclusion: The current study demonstrated the beneficial effect of DSC certification on clinical outcome of AMI probably mediated through quality improvement during the healthcare process.
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